In America many people claim to be something they are not and get away with it, which explains why Al Sharpton continues to use the title Reverend. However, he is as much a reverend as I am a black man.
By age ten Sharpton was “ordained” by Pentecostal minister Bishop F.D. Washington—a man with no training or education. Regardless of education, no one in his or her right mind can ascribe the title of minister to a 10 year old.
Most professions require relevant credentials and skills. For teachers this includes a masters degree, certifications, and background checks. For police, graduation from police academy and ongoing job training and evaluations are required. Attorneys and judges must also not only have a law degree and passed the bar, but follow a code of ethics and maintain accreditation standards to keep their license.
Al Sharpton never finished college. He has less education than a kindergarten teacher. He possesses a high school level knowledge of English. And his version of history speaks for itself.
He famously quipped: “White folks was in caves while we was building empires…. We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”
Most Christian ministers earn a MA degree and learned the now non-spoken languages of Greek and Hebrew originally used to write the Bible. Additionally, PhD’s require fluency in French, Latin, and German to understand translations from original texts to the vernacular.
Granted, someone can earn numerous degrees and still be neither a Christian nor a minister. Which is why, what one says and does reveals their motivation and conviction about Biblical authority and the Gospel.
Sharpton claims to have preached his first sermon at four years old—whether the topic was potty training or a popular song, it undoubtedly was not about Jesus Christ. To state the obvious, toddlers cannot read. They also do not have the capacity to gain knowledge or wisdom from years of prayer and studying the Scripture.
Sharpton has never professed a testimony of conversion, nor has he ever led a church. He has written no books about the Bible, and any language of grace, salvation, forgiveness, repentance, restoration, the Gospel of Jesus Christ or even Jesus are consistently absent from his remarks.
Sadly, Sharpton’s life exemplifies everything that Christianity is not.
Sharpton’s father left his mother for his half-sister. Fortunately, he chose the lesser of two evils. Between incest and a musician, he chose the latter, James Brown as his father figure, who he says, “taught him how to be a man.”
What was Brown’s example? Having largely raised himself on the streets with a sixth grade education, Brown’s life reads like a rap sheet, no pun intended.
Brown was convicted for robbery at age 16, went to Juvenile Detention and was paroled at age 19. By age 40, in 1973, the IRS claimed he owed over $2 million in unpaid taxes. To avoid concurrent problems with the IRS and not pay what he owed, Brown credited his then-second wife and two of their children as the writers of a 1976 hit song, “Get Up Offa That Thing.” In 1986 Brown went to prison again, after several gun possession charges, but ultimately for assault and battery with intent to kill. In 1998 Brown was charged with drug possession.
Sharpton’s life follows a similar trajectory. In 2002, a 19-year-old FBI video surfaced, aired by HBO, in which Sharpton allegedly recorded incriminating conversations with the Genovese and Gambino crime families about selling narcotics. No charges were brought against him. He still maintains he didn’t break the law, others argue he was more than a confidential informant.
In 1989, Sharpton was charged with 67 felony counts of tax evasion, larceny and fraud. Whatever deal he made was undisclosed; he was acquitted on all counts and only pled guilty to a misdemeanor for not filing his 1986 state income tax.
In 2001, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for trespassing on U.S. Navy property during an alleged “protest” against military training activities in Puerto Rico.
In 2003, a New York City travel agency sued him for allegedly using fake credit card information.
In 2004, the Federal Election Commission ordered him to repay $100,000 in public matching funds he received for his 2004 presidential run.
In 2008, he was convicted on two counts of disorderly conduct resulting from being arrested for allegedly “protesting.”
In 2013, while still married to his second wife Kathy Jordan he unashamedly flaunted his 35 year old girlfriend Aisha McShaw in New York City.
In November 2014, The New York Times exposed his fraudulent life, writing, “As Al Sharpton rose, so did his unpaid taxes.” The article lists a rap sheet of unpaid taxes, rent, and other bills, highlighting that Sharpton and his business owe more than $4.5 million in taxes. He refutes their article.
Or why he remains silent about hate crimes committed by black groups against individual veterans, students, or teens punched to death in knock out games. Or why he has offered no solutions to reduce illegal drug and gun violence in black communities.
Sharpton has had his entire life to provide young men without fathers like himself to actually teach them the basic Biblical principles of self-control, patience, kindness, honoring their parents, respecting authority, being responsible, working hard, doing what is right, causing no harm, or at a minimum, the six out of ten commandments on which US civil law and moral codes are based.
Many black men are addressing the problems within the black community:
- Philadelphia Mayor Mike Nutter
- Minister Voddie Baucham
- Minister Jonathan Gentry
- Doctor Ben Carson
- Singer, songwriter, producer Pharrell Williams
- Economist, social theorist, political philosopher Thomas Sowell.
Sharpton’s life doesn’t reflect Christianity because he knows not Christ.
But he does have time to know the Gospel and genuine zeal expressed by many ministers.
And time to heed the warning in the New Testament book of Acts. A demon asks a false teacher, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?”
“To be unknown in hell as a minister is a great disgrace,” one minister wisely said.